December 15, 2019

Four tips for stress-free formal photographs on your wedding day!

First of all, I should apologise. I set out to create five great tips for stress-free formal photographs on your wedding day but it’s not really a complicated subject and I ran out at four! The formal (family) photographs in wedding photography have transformed immensely over recent years. We’ve transitioned from the awkward, stiff-posed, straight-faced grimace pictures that you feel you have to have for your grandparents’ sake. Formal photographs can be so much more now! They can be filled with emotion and they can exude fun. Here are my four tips for stress-free formal photographs on your wedding day!

Why are formal photographs important?

Formal photographs are a captured moment of your loved ones, close friends and sometimes distant relatives from two families come together to celebrate your happiness on the biggest day of your life. It can sometimes seem like chaos trying to round up the stragglers and there’s always that one aunt at every wedding that has drunk a bit too much prosecco and can no longer stand. But, it’s honestly worth it when you create some beautiful family moments.

I. Discuss family portraits with your fiancé/fiancee

This is often a conversation about your wedding day that the two of you will overlook. That’s no surprise given it seems like such a small part of the big day, but it’s so important! Some people think formal photographs only include their siblings and parents. Some extend this to grandparents and some extend this to aunt Ethyl, uncle Bob and great aunt Dorris. It’s so important that you and your future husband or wife to be are on the same page about what’s important. So sit down together and make a list of the formal photographs you each want and compare.

II. Ask your photographer how long what you want is going to take

Your photographer is always going to be your best source of information here. They will know how long the combinations you want are going to take. They’re also full of wedding experience and will know how quickly people get fed up standing around for their photographs. Your family and friends love you, they’re overjoyed at your happiness. But they don’t love standing around, they want to celebrate not procrastinate! I always recommend to my couples to allow 30 minutes for their formal photographs but never more than 45 Minutes. For me, 8-12 pictures in this time are realistic. Your photographer may feel differently, so chat to them.

III. Tell your photographer of any special considerations they need to make

I feel privileged that my clients often ask me questions about all things wedding. I often get texts from Brides to update me on their wedding plans and to ask for advice or recommend suppliers It’s no surprise then that sometimes I end up knowing my clients’ really well. Despite this, I know nothing about their families. It’s always really helpful to know about any mobility issues, if people don’t get along or if your relationship with a particular guest is extra special. Your photographs will be better for it.

IV. Nominate a ‘herder’

My preferred term is ‘designated loudmouth’. This person will be someone who knows both sides of your family well. They’ll be confident, assertive and most importantly. LOUD! This amazing person will make this half-hour to forty-five minutes of your day stress-free and easy by rounding people up for their formal photographs. It keeps things fairly punchy and helps the time pass a bit quicker for those waiting around. Your photographer should make sure your loudmouth has a list of all of the formal arrangements you’re having so they know who to grab and when! Not only will you love how smoothly your formal photographs take place, but your photographer will thank you for it!


I’ve read a great deal of posts just recently on this subject,
however you actually make an engaging argument.

Is it better to have these kinds of images straight after the ceremony or in the evening????? Thx

Such a refreshing point of view. I’ve delighted I stumbled
throughout your blog.

Such an intriguing post, I’m grateful I came throughout your blog site.

How would you approach a family photograph with a lot of relation problems?

What a wonderful post! I need to share this with friends.

When's your big day? I CAN'T WAIT TO CAPTURE IT

Are you engaged and planning your beautiful wedding in Cambridgeshire or anywhere within East Anglia? I'd love to hear from you and discuss your wedding plans! Whether you're having a traditional wedding at your local church or a dreamy, romantic wedding at Minstrel Court; perhaps it's an elegant affair at Barrington Hall or another country home? Whatever your wedding plans, I would love to hear from you and have the opportunity to talk you through how I can tell the most important chapter of your love story in a romantic, authentic and compelling way. You'll find an enquiry form on my Contact page or you can get in touch with me using the details to the right. Not done looking? GREAT! There's so many beautiful wedding stories to look through and you'll find some really insightful and helpful wedding planning and photography advice editorials on my blog.


31 Ermine Street, Caxton,
Cambridge CB23 3PQ // UK

Tel: 07717154071
[email protected]